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Black-capped Chickadee
Photo: Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus.
Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus
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Where are they found? North America

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The distinct and recognizable call, "chicka-dee-dee-dee", is that of New Brunswick’s provincial bird, the Black-capped Chickadee. This call is actually a quite complex vocalization. Depending on only slight variations in the phrase, the song can convey distinct messages: it can act as a contact call ("Who else is near?") or an alarm signal, give information about the caller's identity, and let others know that the caller has recognized the presence or even the identity of another flock.

Both sexes of the Black-capped Chickadee look alike, with a short bill, a black cap and a black bib on the throat. The back is greenish, and the under-body, extending across the stomach to the base of the tail, is dull grey. The face is white. The tail is dark grey and long, flat and rectangular. These birds usually measure 12 to 15 cm (5 to 6 in.) from the tip of the bill to the tip of the tail, and weigh only 9 to 14 g (0.3 to 0.5 oz.).

Black-capped Chickadees are active birds who spend most of their day looking for food. They are known for caching food for later periods of scarcity, and are able to remember, with excellent accuracy, and for up to 28 days, both the locations of the hidden food and the kind of food at each location. Chickadees are able to retrieve food from specific caches based on their needs: during the cold winter months, when high-energy food is needed, chickadees will return to the places where they hid the most energy-rich foods.

In North America, the Black-capped Chickadee can be found all across Canada from Newfoundland to British Columbia (except for the coastal islands), and into southern Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories. Its range also extends south into the United States of America, but it is restricted to the northern two-thirds of the continent, extending furthest south within the Rocky Mountain range.


More Images
Photo: Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus. Photo: Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus. Photo: Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus. Photo: Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus. Photo: Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus. Photo: Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus. Photo: Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus. Photo: Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus. Photo: Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus. Photo: Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus.


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“Black-capped Chickadee”. [Online]. Natural History Notebooks. Canadian Museum of Nature.
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